Connect with us

News

GolfWRX Morning 9: What the 2019 Rules update got wrong | The joy of December golf

Published

on

By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

December 24, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans. A Merry Christmas Eve to you all!
1. On December golf
The immortal John Updike with an equally immortal 1989 piece for Golf Digest.
“An hour north of Boston, the golf shops hold their end-of-season sales in early October, and by the end of the month, the club pros have flown south to Florida, to begin all over again. The courses remain open, however, for a month or so-at first, with flags in fresh-cut cups, and then without flags but with unlined holes cut in the middle of the green, and finally with no holes in the green but perhaps temporary greens set up some yards in front, on patches of fairway where putting is as chancy as bowling across cobblestones. Nevertheless, a devoted few play on, through Indian summer and Thanksgiving, into December, until the first snowfall puts a decisive end to the golfing year.”
  • “Just as a day may come at sunset into its most glorious hour, or a life toward the gray-bearded end enter a halcyon happiness, December golf, as long as it lasts, can seem the sweetest golf of the year. The unkind winds and muddy plugged lies of April and May, the deepening rough of June, the hot, eager crowds of July and August, the obfuscating goose feathers and fallen leaves of the autumn are all gone, gone, and golf feels, on the frost-stiffened fairways, reduced to its austere and innocent essence.”
  • “December always holds some mild-enough days. Sunshine glints like a thin shell of ice on the upper sides of the bare, gray twigs, the sky is striped like blue bacon, a tardy line of Canada geese wobbles its way south, and the air is delighted to be providing oxygen to some plucky sportsmen. The foursome, thinned perhaps to a mere threesome or twosome, meets by the boarded-up clubhouse exhilarated to have an entire golf course to itself-fairway upon fairway visible through the naked trees, zigzagging back and forth in the view from the first tee. There are no tee markers, no starting times, no scorecards, no gasoline carts-just golf-mad men and women, wearing wool hats and two sweaters each, moving on their feet…

Full piece. 

2. Whiff!
Geoff Shackelford took issue with an element of the 2019 updates to the Rules of Golf…more specifically, the failure to make an update to an irksome issue.
  • …”the governing bodies did not budge on one of the most requested rule changes: relief from divots.”
  • “Chalk this up to a win for the all-important “play it as it lies” principle, the most vital tenet of golf’s rules. But do not expect this to be the last time divot-relief is scrutinized. There is good reason to believe the adoption of several changes will force the U.S. Golf Association and R&A to cave on the divot matter.”
  • “More than any other annoyance in the sport, seeing a ball finish in divots of differing recovery stages can be an aggravating though generally rare occurrence given the number of shots struck.”
  • “At courses with big maintenance budgets and carts armed with sand bottles, the issue gets trickier when an old divot blatantly becomes ground under repair, particularly when players can spot seeds in the mix. The divot issue is generally more acute for American golfers who play an aerial game, making the recovery shot more painful than on a links, where fewer forced carries mean golfers more easily can advance the ball to the hole via the ground.”
  • “According to the rules experts who put an incredible amount of time into this simplification effort and who deserve our gratitude for listening as never before, the divot issue was cited heavily during the feedback period. Even as the golfing public successfully lobbied for a monumental change in the stroke and distance rules, the rules experts – gulp – dug deep when it came to considering divots as ground under repair.”
3. Another opinion?
Martin Kaufmann writes…
“…in their sweeping overhaul of the Rules of Golf, the game’s governing bodies showed themselves to be open, transparent and flexible, and also attuned and sympathetic to the plight of mid-and high-handicappers.”
  • “That was reflected in numerous rules changes, including: a local rule dealing with balls that are lost or OB; establishing the ability to set a “maximum score”; sanctioning the use of distance-measuring devices; reducing or eliminating some penalties; encouraging “ready golf”; providing a means for poor players to extricate themselves from bunkers; and allowing players to move loose impediments in bunkers. It’s also reflected in a condensed rule book – 24 rules, down from 34 – that contains less-tortured language, and also supporting videos and other materials that are easily consumed.”
  • “Without blowing up the rules, they’ve done a wonderful job of maintaining the integrity of golf and yet made things more consistent throughout the course and reduced penalties that frankly seem a little unfair in many people’s eyes,” said Bill Linneman, director of rules and competitions for the Wisconsin Golf Association.”
  • “The USGA and R&A didn’t just meet everyday golfers halfway; they embraced them in a big bear hug. The result, said Ryan Farb, the Northern California Golf Association’s director of rules and competitions, is “The everyday player is going to end up playing by the rules by default a lot more than they used to.”
4. Foster axed
Andy Johnson at the Fried Egg…
  • “Congressional Country Club has decided to cut ties with golf course architect Keith Foster. The club’s Board of Governors came to the decision this morning and will begin the process of finding a new architect. The move came following Wednesday’s news that Foster had plead guilty to illegally transporting between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of items made from endangered species, migratory birds and other wildlife. Foster potentially faces up to five years in prison. In an email to the membership, Club President Bev Lane remarked, “The permitting phase of the Blue Course restoration project will continue as planned. A list of golf course architects has been developed and initial discussions with them have already begun.”
  • “Keith Foster has also been let go at Olympia Fields Country Club following the news of his guilty plea. The club and Foster were in the early stages of masterplanning at the historic club. Olympia Fields released a statement to their membership “we have done our best to mitigate the Club’s damages resulting from his admitted offenses and are proceeding to formulate a plan to move forward with another architect.” Before selecting Foster, Olympia Fields was considering Andy Staples, Tom Doak and Jim Urbina.”
5. Speaking of Olympia Fields…
Dan Kilbridge at Golfweek…
  • “Olympia Fields Country Club will host a FedEx Cup Playoff event in 2020, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune.
  • Sources tell the Tribune that the event now called the BMW Championship will take place at the site of the 2003 U.S. Open in Olympia Fields, Ill., where Jim Furyk won with a then record-low 272 total.”
  • “The BMW has traditionally been held in the Chicago area every other year, but this means back-to-back years with the 2019 event set for Medinah Country Club”
6. Talking to the author “The Evolution of Golf Course Design”
“Our Peter Schmitt conducted an interview with Keith Cutten, author of “The Evolution of Golf Course Design,” which is a new book he is releasing to the public. This is an unbelievably well-researched and all-encompassing look at golf course architecture, how it has changed throughout history, and all of the variables in play that have shaped it over the course of time.”
Q: “Let’s start with the easy stuff. What’s your personal background? How did you get into all of this?”
A: “Well, my passion for golf architecture started back in high school. I took a drafting and design curriculum all through high school, which was hugely beneficial. I was getting into golf around 15-16 years old and I lost my grandfather, who was the primary golf influence in my life. When he died, he left me his golf clubs, and I missed him so much I just dove completely head first into golf.”
  • “When I finished high school, I sat down with my dad to try to hash out a game plan to get into the golf industry. My dad was an environmental scientist for 40 years with the Ministry of Environment in Ontario, so he helped me a great deal in understanding the policy system here in Canada. I started by getting my bachelor’s degree from the University of Waterloo in Planning and Environmental Design. In my last coop term, I went for broke and I reached out to Rod Whitman in Canada, who invited me to do a 5-month coop with him during the construction of Sagebrush Golf & Sporting Club in British Columbia. The pay was paltry and I ran a shovel and a rake for most of the summer, but I fell in love with it instantly.”
  • “I later went back for my master’s in Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph, which I finished in 2016. The culmination of that was my thesis, which has now become this book. Nowadays, I have my own company, Cutten Golf, Inc., which allows me to partner with people like Rod and Dave Axland, who has been Coore and Crenshaw’s chief project manager for 30 years. I couldn’t have walked into a better situation as a young, aspiring architect. To have the opportunity to work with these guys is incredible.”
  • “Having had the opportunity to peek at an advanced copy, I can say the book is completely fascinating. Talk a little bit about what compelled you to devote so much of yourself to this pursuit in the first place.”
  • “I’m the type of person that needs to answer my own questions to be satisfied. I’m not comfortable with just accepting things as fact without knowing the story behind them. I was sitting in one of my first master’s classes, which was basically a history of the landscape architecture profession. I’m learning how everything is influenced by society and wars and economy and I thought, “This has to be true for golf, but no one’s ever talked about it.”
  • “At the time, I was also batting around ideas for my thesis. I was thinking a lot about the renovations that had recently been done to Pinehurst No. 2 and I was particularly curious about how Donald Ross’s original design was so much more environmentally sound than what it had been allowed to become over the course of time.”
  • “One of the key quotes that I got from Bill [Coore] about that project was that they were not trying to be “environmental crusaders” so much as they were just trying to put the course back to the way Donald Ross had originally intended it. So the question I kept asking in my head was, “How did this happen?” I sort of went on a fact finding mission to uncover how golf course architecture changed and it kept snowballing. I just kept following leads in different directions that began to connect all the dots for me. I went a little deeper down the rabbit hole every day, and ended up with a 600+ page thesis to turn in.”
7. Jon Rahm-Seve Ballesteros
How about this for a “grow the game” initiative?
  • Brian Keogh of Irish Golf Desk writes, “Combining the eternal appeal of Seve Ballesteros with the star power of Ryder Cup hero Jon Rahm has drawn more than 600 children to participate in the ‘Seve & Jon Golf for Kids’ programme in Spain.”
  • “While the youngsters know all about Seve through watching his videos and hearing the stories of his feats, they were keen to get to know Rahm and played golf with their hero at Meaztegi Golf, a Seve-designed public golf course in Ortuella, a mining town near Bilbao.”
  • “After competing in five qualifiers during the summer, 80 boys and girls under 16 made it to the final event of the ‘Seve & Jon Golf for Kids’ series, which is a joint initiative by Jon Rahm and the Seve Ballesteros Foundation aimed at introducing younger generations to the game of golf and its values.”
8. Economic impact of The Open
Jim Miller at the Courier…”A record 172,000 fans flocked to the coastal Angus town for the prestigious golf tournament in July and delivered an economic impact of £69 million, according to the study by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre.”
  • “Tiger Woods on 18th green, reacting after missing a birdie putt. Friday, 20th July, 2018. Scotland also benefited from £51 million in destination marketing activity thanks to The Open being broadcast on television to more than 600 million households in 193 countries worldwide.”
  • “The study – which was commissioned by golf’s governing body The R&A, VisitScotland and Angus Council – also concluded that the Angus area alone received a £21 million injection of new money from The Open.”
  • “Almost half of the spectators who attended The Open (49.8%) travelled from outwith Scotland, while the overwhelming majority of Scottish fans (84.8%) came from outside Angus. The research found 62% of non-Angus residents indicated they would return to the region for a break within 12 months.”
9. For your listening pleasure
In this episode of The Gear Dive, Host Johnny Wunder chats with fellow Seattle native Jay Turner on growing up with Freddy Couples, the things the big companies aren’t paying attention to, Johnny Wunder’s first set of clubs, creating a fitting system that is hard to argue with and sticking to his guns for over 30 years.

Listen here.

Your Reaction?
  • 5
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK5

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Honda Classic

Published

on

By

GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,125 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Louis Oosthuizen and more.

Last year, Keith Mitchell canned a 15-footer on the 72nd hole, outlasting Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from PGA National.

General galleries

Special galleries

Vijay Singh using custom Mizuno MP-20 irons with lofts modified enough they had to stamp new numbers. Link to his full WITB

Camilo Villegas with old-school Air Jordans

Close up of Tommy Fleetwood’s putting grip

Luke Donald with a new putting training aid

LA Golf has a couple of new shafts

Brooks Kopeka with his pink and white Nike Air Zoom Infinity Tour shoes

Odyssey Stroke Lab Ten with new sightlines.  Link to galleries and discussion

Kevin Streelman is a huge Chicago Cubs fan, so he went to a spring training game and had the players sign his staff bag (to be fair, he probably took just the panel and not the whole bag)

Jim Furyk has gone back to his standard length putter and cross-handed after trying the arm-lock style for a while.

Kyle Stanley’s coach is taking a worm’s-eye view of Kyle’s alignment and stroke.

Your Reaction?
  • 6
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

News

Morning 9: Koepka talks golf | Tiger’s Champions Dinner menu | Tour caddies and hot seats

Published

on

1. Koepka talks golf
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…The former World No. 1 – who now sits third behind Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm – opened up in great detail in a profile in GQ about what he would change about the game of golf, a sport that he truly loves despite some outside perception.
  • “One thing I’d change is maybe the stuffiness,” said Koepka, who’s never viewed himself as just a golfer. “Golf has always had this persona of the triple-pleated khaki pants, the button-up shirt, very country club atmosphere, where it doesn’t always have to be that way. That’s part of the problem.”
  • ...”Everybody always says, ‘You need to grow the game.’ Well, why do you need to be so buttoned-up? ‘You have to take your hat off when you get in here.’ ‘You’re not allowed in here unless you’re a member – or unless the member’s here.’…
  • …”I just think people confuse all this for me not loving the game. I love the game. I absolutely love the game,” said Koepka. “I don’t love the stuffy atmosphere that comes along with it. That, to me, isn’t enjoyable.”

Full piece.

2. Fajitas and sushi
“Being born and raised in SoCal, having fajitas and sushi was a part of my entire childhood, and I’m going back to what I had in 2006,” Woods said. “So, we’ll have steak and chicken fajitas, and we’ll have sushi and sashimi out on the deck, and I hope the guys will enjoy it.”
  • “Woods also said he’s considering serving milkshakes for desert like he did during the 1998 dinner.”
  • “That was one of the most great memories to see Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead having milkshakes that night in ’98,” he said.”

Full piece.

3. Why a tour caddie is always on the hot seat 
The Undercover Tour Caddie writeth again…“I’ve been lucky to partner with 18 players on the PGA and developmental tours, four of which were longtime appointments. I’ve also been fired 17 times-and among my friends, that’s on the low end of the spectrum…”
  • “The majority of the time, the breakups are amicable and done in person. I consider myself friends with almost all the players I’ve worked for, and though there were some strong emotions from both sides when it came time to disband, I get it. This is a business, and they’re making a business decision. Plus, you don’t want to burn any bridges. I’ve had two guys toss me aside after a month’s work, only for them to circle back within the year, one of which ended up sticking for five seasons.”
  • “There have been callous splits. In the early 2000s, I was trying to get my guy to hit an 8-iron on an approach at the 71st hole. He was adamant that 9 was the play. I strongly, but respectfully, said he needed to club up. He went with the 9; his ball came up short of the green, and he couldn’t get up and down. That bogey dropped us out of the top 10. He fired me after signing his card, claiming he needed someone “who has faith in me.” Hey, I had faith-faith that his 9 was the wrong club.”

Full piece.

4. The best part of Tiger’s Masters win…
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…”Last April at Augusta National Golf Club, behind the 18th green, after tapping in for a one-stroke victory and fifth Masters triumph, there were hugs all around, none sweeter than those from his daughter and son.”
  • “I think what made it so special is that they saw me fail the year before at the British Open. I had gotten the lead there and made bogey, double, and ended up losing to Francesco,” Woods said. “To have them experience what it feels like to be part of a major championship and watch their dad fail and not get it done, and now to be a part of it when I did get it done, I think it’s two memories that they will never forget. And the embraces and the hugs and the excitement, because they know how I felt and what it felt like when I lost at Carnoustie … to have the complete flip with them in less than a year, it was very fresh in their minds.”
  • “It’s a long and rambling thought, and totally justified in the context of all the emotion woven into the two experiences. Some things are just difficult to express cogently, and the struggle with doing so only underscores their impact.”
5. Dream of Coul is dead
Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”Coul Links was supposed to be Scotland’s next great links golf course. Envisioned to be built by Coore-Crenshaw on a protected wildlife site in Embo on dunes near Dornoch, those hopes took a serious blow on Feb. 21, when the Scottish government denied planning permission for a project spearheaded by golf course developer Mike Keiser.”
  • “I’m moving on. I have so many other projects,” Keiser tells The Forecaddie. “God bless Dornoch.”
  • “In its decision notice, Scottish Ministers determined that the proposed development would adversely affect the local environment, stating in their findings that the “likely detriment to natural heritage is not outweighed by the socio-economic benefits of the proposal.”
6. Koepka: Great round of golf with Trump
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard…“In a profile in GQ, Koepka…talked about a recent round with President Trump…Koepka, his father, younger brother Chase and President Trump “had a blast” at Trump’s course in West Palm Beach.”
  • “It was nice to have my family there, my dad, my brother. Anytime it’s with a president, it’s pretty cool,” said Koepka. “I don’t care what your political beliefs are, it’s the President of the United States. It’s an honor that he even wanted to play with me.”
  • “I respect the office, I don’t care who it is,” added Koepka. “Still probably the most powerful man in the entire world. It’s a respect thing.”

Full piece.

7. Tiger on lengthening Augusta National 
Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport…”Augusta National has been at the forefront of trying to keep it competitive, keep it fair, keep it fun, and they’ve been at the forefront of lengthening the golf course,” Woods said. “Granted, they have the property and they can do virtually whatever they want. They have complete autonomy. It’s kind of nice.
  • “But also they’ve been at the forefront of trying to keep it exciting as the game has evolved. We have gotten longer, equipment changed, but they’ve been trying to keep it so the winning score is right around the 12- to 18-under-par mark, and they have.”
8. Inside the Bear Trap
Golf Channel Digital team…“Here’s a look at some of the notable Bear Trap stats according to the PGA Tour (all figures since 2007, when the tournament moved to PGA National):”
  • “Among non-majors, the Bear Trap ranks as the third-toughest three-hole stretch on Tour at 0.644 over par on average. It’s behind only Nos. 16-18 at Quail Hollow (+0.873) and Nos. 8-10 at Pebble Beach (+0.673).”
  • “The Honda Classic field is a combined 3,629 over par across the Bear Trap and 4,934 over par across the other 15 holes at PGA National.”
  • “543 different players have played at least one competitive round at the Honda since 2007, with 76 percent (415) of them hitting at least one ball in the water on the Bear Trap.”

Full piece.

9. San Diego muni renovations (including Torrey)
Jason Lusk of Golfweek…“San Diego’s city council has allotted $15 million for upgrades and renovations to the city’s three municipally operated golf facilities including Torrey Pines’ South Course, site of the 2021 U.S. Open, according to a report Tuesday by the San Diego Union-Tribune.”
  • “…The $15 million approved Monday by the city council also will include contract work at San Diego’s other municipally operated golf facilities at Balboa Park and Mission Bay, the Union-Tribune reported. The courses will remain open during the jobs that include installing new irrigation systems and drainage, replacing and repairing cart paths, renovating bunkers and tree work.”

 

*featured image via Augusta National/the Masters

Your Reaction?
  • 4
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

News

Tour Rundown

Published

on

@asiapacgolfgrp

Only two of the world’s featured tours were in action this week, but the golf that they provided was memorable and historic. Not the type of historic that you find in school books, but certainly the type that golf aficionados point to, down the road. On the one hand, a prodigious yet poliarizing talent demonstrated complete control down the stretch, during his march to a 2nd World Golf Championship victory. On the other, a precocious competitor joined into a talented triumvirate with a marvelous birdie at the last, to secure an inaugural PGA Tour championship.Tuesday Tour Rundown is back, for this week only!

WGC-Mexico flies away in the hands of Patrick Reed 

Golf Twitter, depending on your perspective, is either entertaining or inflamatory. As happens in the world today, people take sides. In the case of Patrick Reed, that’s not difficult. One either forgives (or denies) Reed’s free interpretation (on multiple occasions) of the rules and their enforcement, or one preserves a disregard for a leading player who simply doesn’t act like one. What isn’t up for debate, is Reed’s seizure of this week’s World Golf Championship in Mexico. What looked for so long like a Bryson-DeChambaeau win, ultimately stowed away in Patrick Reed’s check-on pouch.

The tournament came down to the aforementioned duo. Both Jon Rahm and Erik Van Rooyen swam along the margin, but neither made enough of a Sunday move to figure in the outcome. Both, in fact, tied for 3rd place, 2 back of DeChambeau and 3 behind the champion. Bryson and his on-display muscles barged out of the 10th-hole gate like a man (and muscles) on a mission. Birdies at 4 of the first 5 holes on the inward half, staked him to a 2-shot advantage. Over the closing four, however, the magic went away, and a bogey at the penultimate hole brought him back to 17-under par.

Reed looked like a man playing for second. His long game was nothing exceptional, but his putter kept him afloat, time and again. And then, whatever DeChambeau had in his water bottle, came over to Reed. Birdies at 15, 16 and 17 suddenly brought the 2-shot advantage to the 2018 Masters champion. Even the cough of an expectorant fan, mid-backswing on the 18th, was not enough to convulse the champion. A closing bogey made the margin closer than it was, and Reed jumped from 33rd to 5th in the FedEx Cup standings.

PGA Tour Puerto Rico is Viktor Hovland’s debut decision

It wasn’t as mauling as Tyson Fury’s technical decision over Deontay Wilder, but Viktor Hovland and Josh Teater came down the stretch in Puerto Rico, like a pair of pugilists. The young Norwegian, Hovland, was pitted against the career grinder, Teater. First it was the veteran, with 3 birdies on the opening nine, to reach minus-19. Hovland chipped away, with a birdie at 5, and a 2nd at 10. And then, Teater hit Hovland with a right-cross (or Hovland hit himself with a sucker punch; you make the call.) Triple bogey! A startling six at the 11th, dropped Hovland into a tie with Teater (bogeys of his own on 10 and 11) who now had new life … and new pressure.

To his credit, Teater didn’t back down. He made birdies at 15 and 17, to recoup the lost shots at the turn. Unfortunately for him, tour victory the first would have to wait. Hovland, the Oklahoma State alumnus, made a sensational eagle at the 15th, to counter Teater’s birdie, and reclaim the advantage. The pair reached the 18th tee, a par five, all square, and it was there that Hovland dealt the final thrust. He took every bit of break out of a 25-feet birdie putt, and banged it into the hole. With the win, Hovland joined Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa as anticipated winners who actually won. Now comes the hard part: winning again and reaching a new echelon of champion.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending